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How Industry Referrals Can Be a Life Raft + How to Spread the Wealth

Every business owner knows that referral business is highly treasured. New leads without the heavy lifting of marketing efforts? Sign us up! Better yet, industry referrals come pre-qualified—your creative partners know your work and will send you prospects they know are a great fit for your services and your price point. They’re already warmed up, so all you have to do is run through your sales pitch and show them you’re the right choice.

As we navigate this unprecedented wedding boom together, referrals become more essential than ever. Many industry pros are fitting in back-to-back events throughout the week, leaving little time to sit in their office and effectively market to new leads. 

Referrals can keep a steady stream of clients flowing in with minimal effort, serving as a life raft for event business owners that hardly have the time to send a newsletter let alone implement a full-blown marketing strategy.

So, what’s the key to ramping up your referral business?

It’s all in your relationships.

Establishing a strong network with your creative partners will build your reputation and keep the referrals coming in. In most cases, you can kick off a mutually beneficial relationship by sending new clients their way first. The efforts you put out into the world will come back tenfold!

Here are a few tips for building your referral business and spreading the wealth.

Focus on the client first.

Even the best referral will fall flat if you send a client over to a creative partner that isn’t the right fit. Whether it’s misaligned design ideas or an incompatible budget, there’s no need to waste anyone’s time on a match that isn’t meant to be. You know your colleagues’ offerings well; now it’s time to get familiar with your new client. What are they looking for in a vendor? How much of their budget can they allocate to that specific area? Will their personalities jive?

At the end of the day, an impactful referral is one that will set everyone up for success. Your client will have an easier decision, your creative partner will have new business, and you will get the credit! It does involve balancing personalities, so be mindful of who will be a good fit together.

Always show gratitude.

When you’re on the receiving end of a referral, don’t forget to say thank you! Remember that a referral means that someone thought about you and decided to send business to you. That’s no small compliment! A simple email or text message to show your gratitude suffices in most cases. 

However, if it’s a creative partner that sends you loads of referral business, go the extra mile! Send them a thoughtful gift to thank them for all they do for your company. There is no such thing as being too appreciative!

Propose a partnership.

If you find someone who matches your style and sends you plenty of referrals (and vice versa!), consider taking it to the next level and forming a partnership to promote your businesses together and better serve your clients. For example, instead of sending referrals back and forth, a caterer and rental company might join forces to offer a combined package together. Or perhaps a florist and baker can work together to create a custom cake offering for their clients.

As you cultivate your industry relationships, you’ll open your business up to more lucrative opportunities that enhance client satisfaction and increase your bottom line at the same time. It all starts with being generous and gracious for those you enjoy working with most! 


Kevin Dennis

Kevin Dennis is the editor of WeddingIQ and the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the past president for Silicon Valley NACE, and national vice president for WIPA.